Monday, July 17, 2006

The Final Word

It was such an amazing trip. While we did not summit due to weather and some technical complications, I had the time of my life. I got to hang out at 12,000 ft for a couple days, where the skies are so blue, I learned mountaineering skills (how to use an ice ax and crampons, about the weather and many other things) that will help me on future climbs.
The hardest part of this whole climb was being right below the summit and not going for it. But the weather, multiple east facing snow fields, and very exposed ridges said "Come Back Next Year Kid".
Despite not summiting, I did complete my goal to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research. I raised over $13,000 and the donations are still coming in!
Overall, this project was a major success. I raised money, which I set out to do and countless people I do not even know are now more aware of the effects of pediatric brain tumors.
The icing on the cake was getting to spend a week in the mountains with some of the coolest people EVER: My Father Chris "Ol' Skool" Wimpey who has done so much for me and has been there every step of the way. Thanks Papa, I love you! My Tia Loca's Catherine and Betsy Wimpey, my Spiritual Advisor Mark Peery, my Mentor from High Tech High (Class of '06 woot woot) Brian "The Manic Hispanic" Delgado, one of my trainers Sherri Rothenberger, one of my best friends and still teaching me after the "incident" in 8th grade, Jake Palmer, the machine, Sean "Cinco soon to be Seis (Knock on wood)" Swarner (Sean Has his own cause goin' check it out at
A big thanks to everyone on Team Zac and the 18 first day hikers! Let's do it again next year guys! And to the rest of you cool cats out there in cyberspace land it is NEVER TO LATE TO DONATE TO THS CAUSE!
to health, cheers. -zy

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Update from the Mountain 7/12

Zac's Mom, here, with an update on Zac's Whitney Quest...

There have been two phone calls from the Team via satellite phone. On Monday night after two days of hiking, things were very positive: Zac was feeling great, no problems with the altitude or fatigue (all the 6am training paid off, David) and the team was considering going for the summit on Tuesday.

And then Zac called Tuesday morning and said the rangers had come by to report the weather on the summit was very unstable, electrical storms and hail in addition to the extensive snow field they had to traverse. They decided to stay put for a day at the second campsite (Constellation Lake, I think) and make a decision this morning about how to proceed. According to Zac, it was not looking very likely that they would make it to the summit.

Ahhhh....before he left, I told Zac that he's already climbed "The Mountain", he's a fighter, a survivor. And an inspiration to many.

"The mountain will always be there."

Brenda (Zac's proud Mom)

PS: To date, ZWQ has raised $13,000 for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health and The Center for Children's Brain Tumors! Go Zac!

And for those of you that didn't see the news story that Matthew Glaser at Channel 8 produced on Zac's Whitney Quest, here's the link:, click on "watch video".

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Well, tomorrow is the day. Today, we are doing the final prep. We have a trail mix production line goin', getting all the gear ready. Good times. I am so ready to do this. There is only one sorta' sketchy part, the switchbacks before the summit. But it is all going to be good. My team is full of people that know what they are doing, or people that fake it pretty dang good.

Alright, it is time to go do..... something. Will try to get an update posted during my climb.
to health, cheers. -zy

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Well, everything is going great. We went for a training hike yesterday on the actual trail we will be going up on Sunday. I hiked about half of it in two hours. It is not just a flat trail either. We had to cross this gnarly stream. A little sketchy, but then again, I'm camping out on the side of a rock... voluntarily! haha...
Tonight, we are going to sleep at altitude. 9000 feet. A little more acclimation anyone?

My crew will start to show up today. Divide up the loads, good times.
After that, we should be good to go.
Until next time.
To health, cheers. -zy

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Well, we arrived in Lone Pine yesterday afternoon for more training, prep, and to acclimate to higher altitude.
We did a short hike up the trail, just to check it out and see the trail we will be climbing. Looks like my training will pay off, it is going to be so much fun.
That's it for now. There is much work to be done. I will journal some more soon.
to health, cheers. -zy

Friday, June 30, 2006

Almost there...............

Well everyone, I am leaving to do some final training at altitude, and then for the climb! I am so ready, pumped and stoked. This has been the “prize” that I have been working towards this whole time! It is going to be so rewarding, and make everything I have endured worthwhile.
In addition to everything else, three people have needed to drop out due to health issues. Don’t worry they are all doing better. But the new additions to the team are Sean Swarner, who is another cancer survivor and a mountaineer who has done five of the Seven Summits including Mt. Everest. Check out his website at
The other addition is Tony DiZinno. DiZinno is a mountaineer as well. He climbed Denali, one of the Seven Summits. Both of these guys are great additions to the team, but won’t replace the team members who have dropped out. David, Jen, Marcus, don’t worry. You’ll come on the next expedition. While we are going on without them, they will always be with us in spirit, especially David who has done so much to help me. Thanks David.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The other day, I was coming out of the grocery store and outside there was a man in a wheelchair selling pencils and American flags. He was pretty bad off; he was paralyzed and had to use a blow tube to control his chair, he only had one leg, his teeth were rotting and he had big thick glasses that were held together with some dirty white tape. Despite all this, he smiled. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, “I am blessed.”

This really got me thinking. If this guy lives his life and still sees himself as blessed with all of his problems and the tribulations that he faces day to day, then my life seems like a piece of cake. I really don't have it too bad, even though some days, I wonder what I am doing trying to climb Mt. Whitney. Some days, giving up seems easier than training so hard every day. But then, I just think about people I have met, like this man or the countless people I know that have been touched by cancer and it helps me push through. Knowing that other people are suffering is not what helps me get through the rough days. It is knowing that the work I am doing will contribute, in some small way, to cancer research so others, especially kids, won’t have to endure what I have.

If I can inspire one person—just one person, by the way I’ve turned my medical challenges into a positive force, then I, too, am blessed.